Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Review Panel on Corporate Parenting
Wednesday, 3 April 2019 2.31 pm

Contact: Ms. C. Tuohy (Tel: 0116 305 5483)  Email: Cat.Tuohy@leics.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

28.

Minutes. pdf icon PDF 222 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 1st March 2019 were taken as read, confirmed and signed.

 

Arising from the minutes Members noted that a representative from the Department for Work and Pensions had been put forward to join the Corporate Parenting Board and had attended the Children in Care pledge launch.

 

Officers clarified that in regard to funding supported accommodation during university holidays for care leavers, the Council did fund supported accommodation but that it needed to be reviewed to ensure the offer was correct.

 

29.

Declarations of Interest.

Minutes:

The Chairman invited members who wished to do so to declare any interest in respect of items on the agenda for the meeting. No declarations were made.

30.

Discussion with a Childrens Rights Officer.

Minutes:

The Panel invited a Children’s Rights Officer, Catriona Candler, to discuss her role with Children in Care.

 

Arising from the discussion the following points were noted:

 

i)             There were three full time Children’s Rights Officers (CROs) who between them covered Children in Care, Care Leavers and children on Child Protection Plans. In the last year they had supported 317 cases. Currently each officer had around 40 ongoing cases.

 

ii)            If a Child Protection Conference was organised for a child over the age of ten, there would be an automatic referral to the service.  The CRO would then contact the family to see if the child would like advocacy.  This could include supporting the child to have their views heard or helping them to understand the decisions that had been made.  CROs were only able to assist those aged ten and above due to capacity, and the development and understanding of the child. Exceptions were made however, for those in a sibling group, or when requested, however Children with Child Protection Plan did have support from their social workers as well.

 

iii)           Children in Care were referred on an issues basis from 0-25, and were able to refer themselves on a particular issue such as placement or change of social worker. Often issues arose from a breakdown of communication and tended to be easily resolvable issues.  Where a child had multiple issues officers would try where they could to place them with a CRO they knew.

 

iv)           If capacity became an issue the service would need to triage the situation to focus on the most urgent issues. However Officers felt with three CROs they were adequately covered, if this was not the case the line manager would also be able to step in

 

v)            The children and young people the CROs dealt with felt the officers made a real difference to their lives by being able to represent them and how they feel appropriately where the child may feel unable to do so.  The strength of the service was seen to be that it, as it was not making assessment, it provided representation rather than an interpretation of the child’s needs.

 

vi)           CROs also contributed to development work in the wider Department attending team meetings of first responders, locality teams and care leavers team, to ensure that they can feed back and discuss any positives or concerns.

 

vii)         If a child or young person were to request a male officer Participation Officers would be able to assist and step in if required.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the information now provided be noted.

 

31.

Recommendations to Members. pdf icon PDF 425 KB

Minutes:

The Panel received a presentation considering Recommendations to Members. A copy of this presentation is filed with these minutes.

 

Arising from the discussion the following points were noted:

 

i)             It was important that the Members role was strengthened; the first step would be to incorporate the role into the ‘Role of the Elected Members’ and the Constitution.  It would also be incorporated into the refresh of the Corporate Parenting Strategy.

 

ii)            The Council would refresh the training offer however did not have any power to impose sanctions on Members who did not attend Corporate Parenting Training.

 

iii)           Members supported the idea of trialling a champion role for three areas:

 

·         Education Employment and Training

·         Housing and Accommodation

·         Health

 

iv)           The champion would be supported by a group of staff of sufficient seniority and it was hoped partners and a child in care and/or a care leaver would also be able to take part. The role enable the Member to look in detail at the issues arising from an area and look at ways the offer could be improved in a more manageable way.

 

v)            Members recognised that not all high impact issues to the Children in Care and Care Leavers needed to be complex. Sometimes it was felt that the Council got caught up in the bigger picture whereas champions and officers could instead focus on the children and what would improve their quality of life.

 

vi)           A champion would also act as a port of call to promote the issue with Members, the Council and throughout Leicestershire.

 

vii)         Achievable targets and outcomes would first need to be set, once officers had been identified they would begin work researching and looking at what the mapping exercise had found. The champions would report back to the Corporate Parenting Board and the Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee on progress made.

 

viii)        SCG and Group Leaders would be consulted first on the proposals and how best to identify champions for each role.

 

RESOLVED:

 

i)             That the information now provided be noted;

 

ii)            That Officers approach the Leader of the Council and Group Leaders on the proposal for Member Champions.

 

32.

Date of Next Meeting.

18th April, 9.00am.

Minutes:

The date of the next meeting was subsequently rescheduled for 22nd May at 3pm.